Maya Rudolph Talks Career And Her New ‘Loot’ Apple TV+ Series: ‘I Feel Like People Are Catching Up With Me’

You most likely know her from either her memorable comedy sketches throughout her seven seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, co-starring in the $288 million dollar worldwide box office hit Bridesmaids, or from her Emmy-winning voice work on the animated series Big Mouth – but now, actress Maya Rudolph is taking center stage as the empowering lead on the new Apple TV+ series Loot.

“I definitely feel like this is a great time and place for me,” the Loot star and executive producer tells me during our recent Zoom conversation. “I don’t know if I would’ve been the center of a show five years ago, ten years ago. I don’t know!”

Rudolph, 49, plays billionaire Molly Novak on Loot, a middle-aged woman who decides to no longer rest solely on her wildly luxurious lifestyle but instead, use her massive fortune for good when she realizes she owns a charity foundation. These major life decisions come after Molly learns that her longtime husband (played spot-on by Adam Scott) she helped build a fortune with is having an affair with a woman half his age. Throughout this 10-episode series, Molly strives to become more selfless in finding her true purpose, as she comes to realize what life is like for those less privileged than her.

“I really like the idea of seeing someone I can relate to in terms of a woman my age in a transitional period of her life,” Rudolph continues. “I think there’s no question that the element of her being a billionaire was exciting too because the minute we started talking about that idea, I thought This is going to big and this is going to be fun and I feel like it can go anywhere, truly. You can see this character anywhere – and within that, you are also dealing with the emotional, real human element of someone having to change their life and what that means and what they’re doing that they might not want to do. I think those paired together are actually a really nice combination because we’re not just seeing extreme wealth, we’re seeing growth as a human.”

Rudolph’s character is supported well by a diverse group of witty, multi-layered characters that have a priceless effect on Molly’s growth. Michaela Jaé Rodriguez, Joel Kim Booster, Ron Funches, and Nat Faxon each bring their own comedic chops and dramatic vulnerability effectively to the screen beside Rudolph.

Rudolph’s character Molly is also not the only character evolving on this new Loot series. Fresh off of her historic Golden Globe win earlier this year for her outstanding lead actress performance on the critically-acclaimed series Pose, Rodriguez plays Sofia on Loot, the initially tough-as-nails executive director of Molly’s foundation. Rodriguez says she has learned quite a few things from her new character.

“Something that just actually hit me now is she has taught me how to have a bit more fun and loosen up a bit,” says Rodriguez. “I look at Sofia and I’m like Yeah, MJ. You like to work like her – you’re not Sofia but you do like to work like her and you do like the work, but you got to go out and travel and go to a party and dance a little bit. So I think that’s what I learned from her.”

Following his leading role in the new Fire Island film, Booster plays Nicholas, Molly’s closest friend and reliable assistant on Loot. When speaking about Rudolph’s leadership abilities on this project, Booster says, “I think Maya has a really difficult job of really setting the tone from the start of shooting. She wears a lot of different hats on the show and I think somebody else in that position might’ve really swallowed up the show and made it all about them, but she gave us so much room and such a great platform to play with each other and really never made it about anything but making the best show possible. That was really remarkable and a mark of an amazing leader.”

Funches, who plays Molly’s cousin Howard on Loot and works at her foundation, adds on about the qualities Rudolph has brought to set by saying, “My favorite type of leader is someone who leads by example by showing you what you should you do if you want to make it to the levels that she has and just being open to everything.”

Also working at Molly’s foundation on Loot is Arthur, played by Faxon in a character filled with sweet humor and a comfortable sense simplicity that seems to intrigue Molly on more than just a professional level.

When I asked Faxon what it means to have video streaming giant Apple TV+ taking on this Universal Television produced Loot series, he says, “I think it’s really exciting to be a part of, to be honest. It’s opened up a lot of opportunities for actors. Especially a place like Apple TV+ to give people the freedom and the creative license to create their vision without sort of too much oversight and control and micro-management. Alan Yang and Matt Hubbard who created the show, it felt like they were really excited about the freedoms that they had, to do what they wanted and to really put it into action.”

Booster adds to Faxon’s comments saying, “Apple is not making a ton of content, you know? It’s cool to be chosen in that way. Apple is ‘that girl’ right now! They’re making really amazing stuff and people are talking about it and it’s really cool to be a part of that family.”

Taking on these main female characters positioned in executive roles on Loot, I wondered how Rodriguez and Rudolph might say Hollywood is doing these days in telling more authentic stories about women in charge.

Rodriguez says, “As women, we haven’t in a long time gotten to be in a position like this where we are like really seen. Two leading strong women and taking it on together and showing that women can do this around the world, no matter what. I do think there’s more work that we can do for women to be seen in this light, but we’re making great strides with this show, I’ll tell you that much, so I feel great.”

Rudolph wraps up our conversation with how her dedicated film and television roles throughout her career so far have brought her to this moment with Loot. “I feel like what’s led me here is based on my own career so far and that’s always been kind of being who I am and what’s nice is I feel like people are catching up with me. Kind of all one-in-the-same but I love embracing it. I love that because I feel like it’s the world that I’m seeing and I’m glad other people are seeing that, too.”

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